June 5, 2013

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

TwerpTwerp by Mark Goldblatt

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

Twerp is a book that I never would have read had I not received a Netgalley invitation to download it. But afterwards, I decided to check it out; I enjoy Middle Grade, after all, and it would only take a few hours to read. I can honestly say I don't regret reading it.

Not that I'm going to gush; Twerp wasn't spectacular by any means, and there were certainly a few things that detracted from enjoyment. But it was ultimately a solid Middle Grade novel, somewhat reminiscent of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee. The main character, Julian Twerski, has a strong voice and comes across as an authentic preteen boy, even when dealing with same and opposite sex friendships and emerging sexuality/attraction; I will admit, though, that I found his 1960's slang to be rather jarring--or at least silly--being a 90's child myself.

The one genuine flaw of the book for me was the "reveal", the point at which Julian finally explained the incident that led to his journal assignment. Without spoiling it, I can say this much: If you've read any of my Fear Street reviews, you might have seen me mention how much I hate when an author writes an important scene... only to pull the literary equivalent of a "Syke!" by explaining that the previous scene never actually happened, and this next one did instead. That bugs me to no end, and even though it's far more justifiable in Goldblatt's case than Stine's, it still made me roll my eyes.

All in all, I finished the book with a sense of mild satisfaction, as well as the conclusion that the Danley subplot could have been cut entirely from the novel without it suffering any significant loss. Personally, I found it to be something of a distraction from the larger plot of the story, never delivering an emotional impact even remotely comparable to that of the main plotline. However, Twerp is definitely still a good book for a Middle Grade reader, and I would recommend it to fans of MG realistic fiction.

A copy of this book was provided for free via Netgalley for the purpose of review.

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